A ccording to weather.com, the hottest day in New Haven history topped out at 103 degrees, measured in 1957. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration deems a 106-degree scorcher in Danbury on July 15, 1995, to be the state’s hottest in its history.
Okay, so it’s not 106 out there right now—yet. But July is traditionally the hottest month of the year in Connecticut, and even with sporadic downpours, the weather’s been sizzling.
This time last year, Daily Nutmeg offered ten “Elm-centric ways to beat the heat.” Here are ten more in no particular order, because we know you can use them.
Foxon Park Soda. This carbonated nectar of the gods has been produced in East Haven since 1922 and is found in the cooler beverage coolers and pizza joints throughout the area, from Gourmet Heaven to Westville Apizza. Some folks are best quenched by the fruity flavors: Strawberry, Cherry, Grape or Lemon-Lime. Some go for Gassosa on very hot days, while others prefer a dark hearty Iron Brew. Then there are those who will accept nothing but Foxon Park White Birch Soda. (Available in many local supermarkets, Foxon Park also sells through its website).
Cold Spring Street. Wouldn’t it be cool if streets named “Cold” really were? Regardless of any literal chill emanating from the street, this part of town is naturally cool thanks to the wooded areas and streams around East Rock, not to mention (not much further up Whitney Avenue) the reservoir. Nice direction to head on a balmy bike ride.
Cocktails. The 116 Crown restaurant/bar offers a couple of drinks involving vodka, Cointreau, lime juice, “simple syrup” and soda water, served on the rocks. For the Limelight, the vodka is bison grass-infused Zubrówka, while the Four Thieves cocktail uses “organic house-infused blueberry vodka.” If your summer drink tastes run more south-of-the-border, just a bit further up Crown Street you’ll find Geronimo Southwest Grill & Tequila Bar, which serves house margaritas by the glass or pitcher, and offers a couple hundred different brands of tequila plus a shaded front deck.
Yale University Art Gallery. One of the less publicized aspects of the lavish renovations made to this world-class art gallery (which had its grand reopening last December) was an improvement in the air control system. The clever concealment of air conditioning units was a hallmark of architect Louis Kahn’s original design for the museum back in the early 1950s.
Edgewood Park. The 7 Sundial Splash Pad, an impressively large public-art fountain sculpture (pictured above), keeps kids cool, but the park also offers cool breezes from its duck pond and shade from its many trees and tunnels. And on Sundays, you’ll find a CitySeed farmer’s market on the park’s Westville end.
Restaurants with outdoor decks overlooking Long Island Sound. Sage American Grill & Oyster Bar has live jazz, piano standards and even reggae music on its Palm Deck four nights a week. The new kids on the block are Lenny & Joe, who took over the old Rusty Scupper space at 501 Long Wharf and put one of their Lenny & Joe’s Fish Tale family restaurants there.
Chapel Street. Last year we praised the cool dining along York Street, where you can find frosty treats at Ashley’s, Yorkside, and Flavors Frozen Yogurt. But Chapel Street’s at least as refreshing as York, with smoothies at Woodland, iced coffee at Atticus, cold salads at Book Trader, milk shakes at Shake Shack, frozen yogurt at FroYo and apparently another frozen yogurt place soon to open near the Green.
The Frisbee. This coolest of all summertime diversions, legend has it, came about when Yale students started tossing around pie plates from the Bridgeport-based Frisbie Pie Company which they’d swiped from the dining halls. When Wham-O formalized the whole flying-disc phenomenon, the slightly altered name Frisbee stuck and New Haven got its due not just as an early innovator in football (via Walter Camp) but in Ultimate Frisbee. (Side note: Ashley’s Ice Cream was named after a champion Frisbee-catching Whippet dog.)
T-shirts. Campus Customs and the Barnes & Noble bookstore, both on Broadway, have the ones with “Yale” emblazoned on them. The INFO booth at the corner of College and Chapel has some which say “New Haven.” An iconic Mamoun’s T-shirt will run you a mere five bucks at the Middle Eastern eatery on Howe Street. The website I Love New Haven sells “I (Heart) New Haven” T-shirts for $17.99.
Indiana Jones and The Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. A 2008 summer blockbuster filmed right in the middle of New Haven. Feel the breeze from Shia LeBeouf’s motorcycle roaring outside the Yale University Art Gallery. There’s also a (non-New Haven) quicksand scene, which, when it’s hot enough outdoors, seems more comfy and cool than life-threatening.
Keep cool, New Haven! August is just weeks away.
Written and photographed by Christopher Arnott.